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  • Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Sponging-house a bailiff's lodging-house for debtors in his custody before their committal to prison
    • ***


Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. esponge—L. spongia—Gr. sponggia.


In literature:

If it were not so painful a task, my dears, I would give you here some notion of what a London sponging-house was in the last century.
"Richard Carvel, Complete" by Winston Churchill
SKIMPOLE, HAROLD, a plausible character in "Bleak House," who was in the habit of sponging his friends.
"The Nuttall Encyclopaedia" by Edited by Rev. James Wood
Such a washing and scrubbing and sponging off and rubbing down as went on in every house, you can imagine.
"Miss Elliot's Girls" by Mrs Mary Spring Corning
At last came in sight the half-way house, where the horses were to have a rest and a sponge down.
"Liza of Lambeth" by W. Somerset Maugham
These were some of the debauched gentlemen Mr. Sponge had seen before Nonsuch House in the morning.
"Mr. Sponge's Sporting Tour" by R. S. Surtees
Many of his best works were painted in sponging houses to clear him from arrest.
"Anecdotes of Painters, Engravers, Sculptors and Architects, and Curiosities of Art, (Vol. 2 of 3)" by Shearjashub Spooner
It was in a sponging-house in Eyre Street that Morland, the painter, died.
"Holborn and Bloomsbury" by Sir Walter Besant
She led the way into the house and swiftly gathered bandages, a sponge, and a basin of water.
"Crooked Trails and Straight" by William MacLeod Raine
A Parisienne will bid you to her house, and leave you to refresh exhausted Nature with a cup of tea and a sponge-cake.
"Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science Volume 15, No. 89, May, 1875" by Various
His creditors, however, become more pressing, and at last he gets into a sponging-house.
"Hours in a Library" by Leslie Stephen
The wintry atmosphere was absorbed into the house, like water into a sponge.
"Toilers of the Sea" by Victor Hugo
Use a large sponge for general house cleaning instead of a brush.
"Civic League Cook Book" by Anonymous
The first visitor who came to see him in the sponging-house was she who had last held him on the heights of Ingouville, and called him murderer.
"Caught in a Trap" by John C. Hutcheson
Mrs. Sponge kept a little shop and a kind of eating-house for poor girls near the Seven Dials.
"Woman's Work in English Fiction" by Clara Helen Whitmore
When you extricated me from that cursed sponging-house.
"The Black Moth" by Georgette Heyer
It only needs another punch, one more good punch, and you're out of the ring and in the sponging house.
"Ovington's Bank" by Stanley J. Weyman
The fog was settling over the houses, and the place smelt like a stale sponge.
"The Hypocrite" by Cyril Arthur Edward Ranger Gull
What, the sponging-house in Shoe Lane!
"Mohawks, Volume 3 of 3" by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

In poetry:

No stranger to the manor house,
Its finery and lordly tenor,
I was a friend of down-and-outs,
And shunned the idly sponging manner.
"Change" by Boris Pasternak

In news:

In addition to its famous Boston scrod and Parker House rolls, this hotel's kitchen is said to have invented this custard-filled, chocolate-glazed sponge cake (see the recipe, right).